Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信) yesterday said it aims to add 1 million 4G users to its customer base this year to stave of the threat of revenue stagnation amid intensifying market competition.
That would bring the nation’s No. 3 telecom operator’s total number of 4G subscribers to 5.5 million.
The company’s 4.5 million 4G users as of the end of last year made up 62 percent of its mobile service subscribers.
Far EastTone forecast the nation’s 4G penetration rate this year would climb to between 70 percent and 75 percent of mobile users from last year’s 60 percent.
Far EasTone said that profits from its 4G service helped it raise its average revenue per user from NT$896 per month in 2015 to NT$901 per month in the third quarter of last year.
“The telecom industry is reaching a plateau in terms of revenue. It is very challenging. Market competition is very fierce,” Far EastTone president Yvonne Li (李彬) said yesterday. “Growth will come from new services such as digital services, or providing information and communication technology services for corporate clients.”
Commenting on the company’s plans to end the minimum payment of NT$689 per month for unlimited 4G services on Feb. 1, Li said “market competition is an important consideration.”
Due to fierce competition, Taiwan’s five telecoms operators decided to extend flat rates for 4G services — common during the 3G era — even though unlimited-rate plans are inhibiting their profits. All players including the nation’s biggest phone company Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) are hesitant about scrapping flat rate plans.
“We believe offering tiered charges based on usage it is a long-term trend,” Li said.
Last year, Far EasTone posted NT$94.34 billion (US$2.95 billion) in revenue, down 3.03 percent from 2015’s NT$97.29 billion, according to company figures.
Net income last year dropped slightly to NT$11.41 billion, or NT$3.5 per share, compared with NT$11.49 billion, or earnings of NT$3.52 per share, in 2015.
Last year’s earnings per share beat the company’s forecast of NT$3.4 per share.
Taiwan Mobile Co (台灣大哥大), the nation’s No. 2 telecom company, yesterday said net income dropped to NT$15.32 billion last year, from NT$15.69 billion in 2015. Earnings per share fell to NT$5.63 last year from NT$5.76 the previous year.
The company’s revenue last year inched up 0.44 percent to NT$116.65 billion from 2015’s NT$116.14 billion.
Chunghwa Telecom yesterday said net income contracted 6.5 percent annually to NT$40.03 billion last year from NT$42.81 billion in 2015, while earnings per share fell to NT$5.16 from NT$5.52.
Revenue shrank 0.8 percent year-on-year to NT$230 billion last year from 2015’s NT$231.8 billion, the firm said.